Obama To Announce New Steps To Get Veterans Back To Work

By Eliza

Aug 5, 2011 12:00am

ABC News’ Mary Bruce (@marykbruce) reports:

Today the president will announce new steps aimed at helping the nation’s one million unemployed veterans get back to work. In a speech at the Washington Navy Yard, the president will challenge the private sector to hire 100,000 veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013 and will propose extending tax credits for wounded warriors and service members returning from combat.

“The president feels that our veterans who have served the country, put their lives on the line and are coming into a difficult labor market, deserve all the support we as a country can give them to find new careers, new private sector job opportunities that will allow them to have economic security for themselves and their families,” an administration official said.

The president will advocate for a “Returning Heroes Tax Credit,” which would offer participating companies a $2,400 tax credit for hiring short-term unemployed veterans. The White House would also offer additional incentives of $4,800 to companies hiring service members who have faced unemployment for six months or longer.

“This is not a tax credit that we believe necessarily has to be continued indefinitely, but we believe that with the significant number of veterans entering the workforce at a time of significant long-term unemployment as our nation is recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression, that this is both appropriate and fair and something the American people will strongly support,” the official said.

The president will also propose continuing an existing tax credit for firms that hire veterans with disabilities and increasing the credit to companies that hire wounded warriors who have faced long-term unemployment. “We believe that this is right from an economic point of view, right from a values point of view, right in terms of honoring the brave men and women who have put their lives on the line for our country and have already sacrificed so much,” the administration official said.

In addition to tax incentives, the president will float the idea of a “reverse bootcamp” to help veterans transition back into the workforce. The idea is just one concept that will be considered by a new task force working to ensure the career readiness of veterans.

The bootcamp would be an extended transition period on the back end of service where members would receive counseling, learn more about the benefits available to them, and pursue job training opportunities.

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